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Housing taxation and capital accumulation

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  • Gervais, Martin

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of the preferential tax treatment of housing capital in a model economy that includes the main housing tax provisions currently in place in the U.S. and a minimum downpayment requirement upon purchasing non-divisible houses. Distortions arise because the tax code makes the return on housing capital larger than that on business capital. The wedge between the two rates of return emanates from the failure to tax imputed rents and is amplified by the presence of mortgage interest deductibility. Simulations show that either taxing imputed rents or eliminating mortgage interest deductibility substantially increases welfare. Moreover, welfare gains accrue to individuals at every income level and distributional effects are much smaller than conventionally believed.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2002)
Issue (Month): 7 (October)
Pages: 1461-1489

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:49:y:2002:i:7:p:1461-1489

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and the Accumulation of Residential and Nonresidential Capital," NBER Working Papers 0753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James M. Poterba, 1992. "Taxation and Housing Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Canada-U.S. Tax Comparisons, pages 275-294 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James Berkovec & Don Fullerton, 1993. "A General Equilibrium Model of Housing, Taxes, and Portfolio Choice," NBER Working Papers 3505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stein, Jeremy C, 1995. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Down-Payment Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 379-406, May.
  5. Gahvari, Firouz, 1984. "Incidence and efficiency aspects of differential taxation of residential and industrial capital in a growing economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 211-233, November.
  6. Fullerton, Don, 1987. "The indexation of interest, depreciation, and capital gains and tax reform in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 25-51, February.
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  8. Poterba, James M, 1992. "Taxation and Housing: Old Questions, New Answers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 237-42, May.
  9. Patric H. Hendershott & Sheng Cheng Hu, 1983. "The Allocation of Capital Between Residential and Nonresidential Uses: Taxes, Inflation and Capital Market Constraints," NBER Working Papers 0718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109, February.
  11. Rosen, Harvey S., 1985. "Housing subsidies: Effects on housing decisions, efficiency, and equity," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 375-420 Elsevier.
  12. Engelhardt, Gary V, 1996. "Consumption, Down Payments, and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 255-71, May.
  13. Skinner, Jonathan, 1996. "The dynamic efficiency cost of not taxing housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 397-417, March.
  14. Henderson, J Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M, 1983. "A Model of Housing Tenure Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 98-113, March.
  15. Jonathan Skinner & Daniel Feenberg, 1990. "The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Personal Saving," NBER Working Papers 3257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. James M. Poterba, 1983. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-occupied Housing: An Asset Market Approach," Working papers 339, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Andrés Erosa & Martin Gervais, 1998. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9812, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  18. Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Edward C. Prescott & Terry Fitzgerald & Fernando Alvarez, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Staff Report 153, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1989. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfections: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1088-1105, December.
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